Paris Fashion Week is under way – a crucial diary date for the UK fashion industry, which is also feeling the recession. Paris is where many UK buyers go to to buy their forward collections and where many British designers go to sell their designs and make contacts.
There are 130 British labels in Paris – and designer fashion accounts for around 15% of the £3bn of clothes exports that the UK makes annually. Tens of thousands of jobs rely on it – from factory workers to freelances seamstresses.
“We’re not feeling a major impact yet but this will be a tough season,” Laurian Davies from UK Fashion Exports, a trade umbrella group. “No-one is buying on impulse so it’s difficult for new designers. Buyers are reluctant to take a punt.”
Only when the order books close in the coming weeks will designers know if the season is as tough as has been anticipated.